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Top Travel Destinations and Most Visited Places of 2016

Since it’s summer, it’s a good time to look at the world’s top travel destinations. Of course, there are a lot of ways to look at what might be considered a “top destination,” and below are several rankings that look at destinations around the world in terms of different metrics. For example, one ranking shows self-reports of tourist favourites, another shows specific sites in terms of popularity, and yet another shows the hard numbers, looking at how many visitors stayed overnight inside the country’s borders. Whatever you consider to indicate a “top” destination, the rankings are below.

Top Destinations

This list is what Trip Advisor called the “top 25 destinations” – a general ranking for popular cities.

  • #1: London, UK
  • #2: Istanbul, Turkey
  • #3: Marrakech, Morocco
  • #4: Paris, France
  • #5: Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • #6: Prague, Czech Republic
  • #7: Rome, Italy
  • #8: Hanoi, Vietnam
  • #9: New York City, USA
  • #10: Ubud, Indonesia
  • #11: Barcelona, Spain
  • #12: Lisbon, Portugal
  • #13: Dubai, UAE
  • #14: St. Petersburg, Russia
  • #15: Bangkok, Thailand
  • #16: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • #17: Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • #18: Hong Kong
  • #19: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  • #20: Cape Town, South Africa
  • #21: Tokyo, Japan
  • #22: Cusco, Peru
  • #23: Kathmandu, Nepal
  • #24: Sydney, Australia
  • #25: Budapest, Hungary


“Travellers’ Favourites” List

This list refers to what travellers reported as their favourite places to visit. This is naturally completely subjective, but it is still valuable to see the results of aggregated self-reports.

  1. Marrakech, Morocco
  2. Siem Reap, Cambodia
  3. Istanbul, Turkey
  4. Hanoi, Vietnam
  5. Prague, Czech Republic
  6. London, United Kingdom
  7. Rome, Italy
  8. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  9. Paris, France
  10. Cape Town, South Africa
  11. New York City, New York
  12. Zermatt, Switzerland
  13. Barcelona, Spain
  14. Goreme, Turkey
  15. Ubud, Indonesia
  16. Cusco, Peru
  17. St. Petersburg, Russia
  18. Bangkok, Thailand
  19. Kathmandu, Nepal
  20. Athens, Greece
  21. Budapest, Hungary
  22. Queenstown, New Zealand
  23. Hong Kong
  24. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  25. Sydney, Australia


Best Sites to See

Rather than a simple “top city” or “top country” ranking, this one looks at specific sites, which may give you a tiny flavour of what these locations have to offer.

  1. Angkor Wat – Siem Reap, Cambodia
  2. Machu Picchu – Machu Picchi, Peru
  3. Taj Mahal – Agra, India
  4. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque– Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  5. Basilica of the Sagrada Familia – Barcelona, Spain
  6. St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy
  7. Milan Cathedral (Duomo) – Milian, Italy
  8. Alcatraz – San Francisco, California
  9. Corcovado – Cristo Redentor – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  10. Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco, California
  11. Eiffel Tower – Paris, France
  12. Church of the Saviour on Blood – St. Petersburg, Russia
  13. Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris, France
  14. The Alhambra – Granada, Spain
  15. Hagia Sophia Museum and Church (Ayasofya) – Istanbul, Turkey
  16. Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) – Prague, Czech Republic
  17. Great Wall at Mutianyu – Beijing, China
  18. Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool – Washington DC, District of Columbia
  19. Burj Khalifa – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  20. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum – New York City, New York
  21. Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) – Bangkok, Thailand
  22. Chichen Itza –  Chicken Itza, Mexico
  23. Sydney Opera House – Sydney, Australia
  24. Petronas Twin Towers – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  25. Panama Canal – Panama City, Panama


Most Visited Countries

Here’s a list that looks at the most popular cities, in terms of how many million visitors stayed overnight this year. The nice thing about this list is that it eliminates the subjectivity – it is a ranking based on facts. It appears that Japan and Italy (and China, if you include Hong Kong as part of China) are the only countries with two cities in the top 20.

  1. Bangkok, Thailand (21.47 million visitors)
  2. London, England (19.88 million visitors)
  3. Paris, France (18.03 million visitors)
  4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates (15.27 million visitors)
  5. New York City, USA (12.75 million visitors)
  6. Singapore (12.11 million visitors)
  7. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (12.02 million visitors)
  8. Istanbul, Turkey (11.95 million visitors)
  9. Tokyo, Japan (11.7 million visitors)
  10. Seoul, Korea (10.2 million visitors)
  11. Hong Kong (8.37 million visitors)
  12. Barcelona, Spain (8.2 million visitors)
  13. Amsterdam, the Netherlands (8 million visitors)
  14. Milan, Italy (7.65 million visitors)
  15. Taipei, Taiwan (7.35 million visitors)
  16. Rome, Italy (7.12 million visitors)
  17. Osaka, Japan (7.02 million visitors)
  18. Vienna, Austria (6.69 million visitors)
  19. Shanghai, China (6.12 million visitors)
  20. Prague, Czech Republic (5.81 million visitors)

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